With so many options out there, how do you choose the right website design company for your business? It’s an important decision, and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Start by putting together a clear project brief, and decide if you need a new website, or if you’re just looking to update your current one. It may be that a new site from scratch is the best solution for your business, but in some cases, an updated site is also possible and can save you some cash. Consider who your target audience is and whether your site needs to be split into clear sections, depending on which category they fall into.
Collate as much information as possible and source your images before putting your project out to tender; this will also help to give you an idea of the scale of the project. If you don’t have images, find out if the website design company can source stock images or photography for you. You may have a general idea of the layout and information to be contained in your website, but honestly, the more information you have ready to hand over to your website design company since day one, the faster the project will progress.
Picking some examples of websites you like the look of and identifying what you particularly like about them will also help discussions. Are you impressed with the modern layout? Do you like how case studies are presented? Was there a feature which stood out for you?
Choosing a budget will help the website design company quote for the most bang for your buck
Once you have your brief and your information, consider a ballpark budget. Bear in mind that an e-commerce website will cost more than a small business website that doesn’t need to take payments. A bespoke five-page non-e-commerce website, where the agency designs and builds each page of the site, but doesn’t write the copy, would cost around £1,800. If you want your website to have specific data capture capabilities and enhanced functionality, these may incur an additional cost.
A note on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
We would strongly advise your website is formatted for SEO. If you are submitting your own copy (written content), then the most the website design company can do is to fill in the meta descriptions, alt tag information, heading tags etc. But without writing the content using keywords, it won’t be as effective because the copy may not be written specifically for higher rankings in Google results in the first instance. Search Engine Optimisation requires keyword research and content planning, to ensure your pages and posts are all optimised correctly. This is why a bespoke five-page website, designed, built and written for SEO would cost around £2,800.
Top questions to ask your website design company
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it often is. Don’t get us wrong, there are some great offers out there, but if someone’s telling you they can build you an SEO-friendly website for £500 without knowing how many pages you need or what functionality, there’s something amiss.
What services are offered?
Does your website design company just offer design and build? Does it include hosting or a maintenance package? Do they offer SEO content writing and keyword research? Do they specialise in e-commerce solutions? Perhaps they offer other services too, like social media marketing or press releases? Most of the above are completely different services, requiring specific skills, and this is why a lot of companies choose to work with full-service marketing agencies.
Are all websites designed bespoke or are pre-made templates used?
A sneaky way to double check this is by looking at websites you know the company has made for other clients – do they look a little too similar? Some companies offer template-designed websites, as well as bespoke designs, but at PSMedia, everything is bespoke. We work with a range of businesses from multiple sectors, so it wouldn’t make sense to use a set template for our clients. Instead, our qualified graphic designers work with you to create a branded, fluid website which really knocks the socks off the competition.
Will I have a say in the design and what if I don’t like the initial drafts?
Your website design company should create wireframes showing what the pages will look like and how they will link together. These will be created from your business’ brand guidelines (a document which stipulates font usage, colours, tone of voice, etc) and should accurately reflect your business. As with any form of art, there are sometimes differences of opinion and that’s absolutely fine; if there’s something about your website’s design that you’d like to change, the design team will work with you to make sure the project reflects your vision.
Umm, so about those brand guidelines – I don’t have any. Can you create some for me?
If your website design company has qualified graphic designers and marketing professionals, this will be no problem. If you are working with web developers only, then we would strongly recommend getting your brand guidelines done by qualified designers. We can create logos, rejuvenate existing logos, and create full brand guidelines for our clients. We also package all the files together and hand them over to you, so you can use them for future projects, such as company brochures and exhibition stands.
Are there any examples of previous projects and testimonials?
At PSMedia we like to let our clients speak for our work, and you can find examples of our projects and testimonials here.
How long will it take to build my website?
This can vary depending on the size of the site, functionality and what content has been supplied to the website design company since the start of the project. Be clear with companies when you would like your site to go live, so they can help you manage tight deadlines.
Will any of the work be outsourced?
In some cases, outsourcing can beef up the project price or lead to confusion and a lack of communication. Make sure your website design company is being transparent about what work is being done in-house. For example, the only thing we offer in collaboration with a partner is the filming of corporate video and photography. We can edit video and create videos, but we do not have the capability to offer a full day of corporate filming.
Can I edit my own website?
You would be shocked to know how many companies come to us with a website which is dated, not mobile optimised and completely custom-coded so they cannot make changes. This enables whichever company made the website to charge them every time changes need to be made. We don’t think that’s fair. It’s your website, so you should have the power to make changes to its content. Now obviously we’re not suggesting you should be adding new pages and trying to add new functions, but you should be able to upload a blog post or edit the content of existing pages. We build websites using WordPress and provide a handy guide upon completion, so you know your way around.
Can you sort my hosting and domain name?
Most website companies can do this for you, just make sure you ask for the pricing and details, as this may not be included in some website builds.
Will I be able to check out the website as it’s being developed?
Now, this is the bane of web developer’s existence. On the one hand, it’s great for clients to be able to check in with the progress of their new website and make suggestions. On the other, sometimes clients forget that it is a work in progress and may think that certain pages or elements are finished, when there’s actually a lot of work to do still. At PSMedia we provide a test site so our clients can check in regularly, just bear in mind that it’s a work in progress until it’s complete.
Are you ready to get started with a website design company?
We offer a FREE 30-minute marketing consultation. Just send your current website address and social media handles to email@example.com and pop down a phone number. We’ll give you a call at a convenient time to discuss how we can help.